23 Comments

  1. Just to save anyone else a trip, I looked up the 7 ages of man and it doesn’t seem to fit with that.

  2. I got this one when I first read it and I thought it was really funny. Now… I don’t get it at all.

    I think in the fifties and sixties that it was assumed (and even encouraged) that adolescent to puberty that boys were supposed to intensely dislike girls. Being adults they should have outgrown it but Peter is actually stunted developmentally that he assumes that if B.C. likes girls it must be because he hasn’t reached the stage where he dislikes girls yet. It doesn’t occur to him that B.C. might have passed it. At least that’s how I interpreted it when i read it in book form way back when.

  3. Woozy, I kinda thought about that, too. But it implies that Peter started disliking girls at age 5 and never grew out of it.

    Also, of course, in the BCverse they discovered girls after they were grown men. I remember those strips, too.

  4. ” But it implies that Peter started disliking girls at age 5 and never grew out of it.”

    ….. Um….what’s wrong with that implication?

    I was assuming that was part of the joke and I thought I had expressed that.

  5. I think this one is based on an observation that preschool children do not segregate themselves according to gender as strongly as kids in elementary school do. Below a certain point, gender is irrelevant; only after their interests start getting channeled into stereotypical categories (such as “sports” and “dolls”) does it start to matter who a kid is playing with.
    P.S. Hart had two daughters, neither of which could have been older than nine when this cartoon was published.

  6. P.P.S. Besides the missing question mark in the second panel, the comma that appears here should have been used in the first panel.

  7. @ lazarusjohn – Excellent catch! That solves the riddle of why Hart wanted to set up that particular punchline.

  8. It’s also interesting that the two characters are drawn smaller and smaller in each panel. Like the viewer is slowly backing away from this awkward conversation.

    And that weirdly placed comma bothers me much more than it should.

  9. “I don’t know if this has any bearing on anything, but this comic is dated on the fourth “birthday” of the strip (started Feb 17, 1958).”

    That would actually explain everything.

  10. The comma in “Do you like, girls” puzzles me, as well as its lack of a question mark. Almost as if a barely-literate teen re-wrote the speech bubble trying to be funny.

    Aside from that, maybe the punchline (“Then you are four.”) was a pop-culture reference of its time. If so, it would be like ending the strip with “Don’t worry — Mikey likes it!” That is, some people would get the reference, while others would be completely baffled — especially with readers decades from now.

  11. “That would actually explain everything.”

    Well it explains the age of 4 but not the seemingly misplaced comma, the fact that the subjects are moving away from us in each panel, what liking girls has to do with the age of 4, what the joke is, etc.

  12. I wonder: In 1962, would there have been any awareness of the strip being 4 years old? Today there might be an “About” entry on the web page, or 4 years of archives a click away, or a Wikipedia page if you’re curious, but back then people just looked at the comic and slipped the page into the bird cage.

  13. Perhaps the question in the second panel is supposed to be “Were you born the day this strip debuted?”

    If so, then the dialogue makes perfect sense. Not quite sure what the joke would be, though. Maybe just a reminder that this then-fledgling strip finally made it to four years.

    Could there be any other questions to replace the speech in panel two that could make the strip both make sense and be humorous?

  14. “I wonder: In 1962, would there have been any awareness of the strip being 4 years old?”

    Not like today but it wouldn’t be unusual for a strip to do a little in-strip observation of “hey, it’s our anniversary”. This one may be a bit subtle for that, as the reader wouldn’t be expected to know off hand it was the anniversary. But this wouldn’t be unprecedented.

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